Monday, June 12, 2017

Living Free as a Bondslave - #1

Galatians 1:1 (CSB) - "Paul, an apostle—not from men or by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised him from the dead"

The letter to the Galatian churches is possibly the first of Paul’s 13 letters that we have preserved in the Bible. If the churches meant to receive this letter were from the south of Galatia – Paul founded churches there on his first missionary journey. This letter could have been written by about 48 A.D. Paul wrote this because of the perversion of the gospel that was spreading. It is missing the customary introductory thanksgiving section. Paul seemed to see this as an extremely severe issue. He also does not include his customary concluding greetings – only a terse benediction. Paul was concerned and very agitated about the false teachers who had advocated “salvation by works” – that is being saved by keeping the law.

So, what is a bondslave? The word bondslave is the word doulos. In the Old Testament when people had slaves they were only allowed to keep the slaves seven years. After that the slave was allowed to go free. But Deuteronomy 15:16ff says that if the slave did not want to leave his master, because he loved his master and his master took good care of him, he was to tell his master, "I want to be your bondslave." The master would then take him down to the nearest government office. The slave would have to stand in the doorway, put his earlobe up against the door post and they would take a punch (or an awl) and pierce his ear. 

With this ceremony the regular slave became a bondslave of his master. He was now a slave of his master forever (cf. Exodus 21:1-8). 

d. In the Old Testament, there were two classes of servants - the bondslave and the hired servant. A bondslave, was never paid. He was bought by his master for a price and as a result all that he was and all that he possessed belonged to his master. A hired slave served his master because he had to, because he needed the money. A bondslave served his master because of love and choice. He loved his master and had chosen to be his bondslave. 

A bondslave is not free to do anything he wants. He has chosen only to do what his master wants. Do you only do what Jesus wants you to do? 

A bondslave is a marked man. When others look at a bondslave they see the mark in his ear and can easily recognize he is different. Are you different from the world? Are you trying to be the same as those around you or are you trying to be biblical, to live your life by the Bible, to imitate Jesus Christ? 

So, the question is - How do we live free as a bond slaves? Over the next few studies, we will address this teaching from Paul to the Galatian churches. Join me in reading and studying this important message.

Prayer: God, open my mind and heart to take in this truth and apply it to my life. Amen.

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